Personal History

The road to Great Enlightenment – A shining personality from a young age

Ryuho Okawa was born at 7am, July 7th 1956, in the town of Kawashima (Yoshinogawa city today), in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. From a young age, Ryuho Okawa blazed his own trail through diligence and effort. His aunt, who was a writer, described him as being “a man of effort.” When he was in the second grade of elementary school, his homeroom teacher told his parents that his IQ was equivalent of that of a twenty year old (having an IQ of over 200). However, instead of boasting of his God-given intelligence, the young Okawa felt it was one’s duty to find joy in diligence, and so stuck to a spirit of diligent perseverance. He devoted much of his time to studying and achieved top-class scores throughout elementary, junior high, and high school, and enrolled in Tokyo University’s Faculty of Law. Besides diligent studying, Ryuho Okawa served as a Student Body President, head of the tennis club, and head of the school newspaper committee. “He never breaks his promise”, “He’s proper even when people aren’t looking”, “He has something that makes the class come together” – these were the opinions about Ryuho Okawa expressed by the people surrounding him. He was trusted very much by his parents, teachers and peers. By the time he was in his teens, he was already known by the people around him for his depth of character and high integrity that would later be translated into “religious magnetism.” At age 11, Ryuho Okawa read “The Autobiography of Albert Schweitzer” and was inspired by his determination to live for others after the age of 30.

From intellectual search to spiritual awakening

Ryuho Okawa entered Kawashima Junior High School with an average score of 100/100 and delivered the valedictorian speech at the class inauguration ceremony. He was constantly in the lead of his peers by a score of over 50 and was hailed to be the smartest student in the school’s history, if not the city’s. After graduating Junior High School, Ryuho Okawa enrolled in the Faculty of Law of Tokyo University. His yearning for wisdom was like an inexhaustible spring that was continuously gushing forth from deep within him. He studied day and night with a voracious appetite for knowledge. In his youth, he always had two overwhelming passions – a passion for learning, and a passion to use this learning for a higher purpose. Not yet knowing his mission or his future work, but swayed by these passions, he devoted all of his energy to developing himself intellectually. By the time he was 20, he had read over a thousand books amongst which were books on politics, law, history, and philosophy. He read excessively in various fields, never satisfying with understanding something unless he felt he was convinced of it in the deepest recesses of his mind. He searched continuously and assiduously for wisdom that continues to sparkle despite the passage of time. He led a meditative life in which he came to repeatedly experience a state of intellectual bliss. By December of 1980, he had an intuition that he would experience a spiritual awakening. On March 23rd, 1981, a little while after 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when Ryuho Okawa was sitting back in the warm spring sunshine and reflecting on his life, he suddenly experienced a spiritual phenomenon – his Great Enlightenment:
“Suddenly, I sensed an invisible presence with me in the room, and almost simultaneously understood by intuition that whatever it was wished to communicate with me. I ran to get a pencil and some blank cards. My hands holding the pencil began to move as if it had a life of its own. On card after card it wrote the words “Good News,” “Good News.” … I realized then that I had just experienced a sort of religious awakening.”

From the book: The Laws of the Sun

That was the moment Ryuho Okawa attained Great Enlightenment. He was 24 years old.

From Great Enlightenment to the establishment of Happy Science

After attaining Great Enlightenment shortly before graduating from University, Ryuho Okawa went on to accumulate six years of working experience. During this period he built his strength in solitude for the day that would come when embarks on his mission.

An entrepreneur or a man of religion?

In 1981, Master Okawa joined a trading company and was stationed in the Foreign Exchange Section of the company’s Tokyo Headquarters. The following year, he was chosen to train at the company’s New York Headquarters, which is a rare opportunity for a second-year employee. Whilst working in the International Finance division located on the 40th floor of 1st World Trade Center, he also studied International Finance Theory at the New York City University Graduate Center. A year into his tenure, his achievement was highly evaluated and earned him an unprecedented offer to become a resident-officer. However, with an egolessness unusual for a trader, he gave the offer to another and returned back to Japan. All the while he rapidly ascended the course, his communication with the heavenly world continued. As he debated whether to continue the path of becoming an entrepreneur or to stand as a man of religion, in his heart he was constantly contemplating on the words: Love, Nurture, and Forgive – one of the messages that he received during his communications with High Spirits. He had contemplated these words for about three years and at the age of 27 he developed this phrase into a philosophy of The Developmental Stages of Love. He submitted this philosophy as an article to the company newspaper and it was met with a great enthusiasm and was even reprinted in the Japan Industry Newspaper. In 1984, Ryuho Okawa was transferred to the Nagoya branch as is customary for potential-future executives. It was around this time that thoughts surfaced about publishing spiritual messages and in August of 1985, he published the first book: Spiritual Messages from Nichiren under his father’s name. The book was met with great interest and encouraged more spiritual messages from other High Spirits.

The turning point – taking up his true life mission

On the 17th and 18th of June, 1986, Jesus Christ, Amaterasu-no-Mikami, and other High Spirits came down one after another to tell Ryuho Okawa that it was the time to take up his true life mission – to stand forth as the Grand Savior. Ryuho Okawa resolved to throw away any vanity and stand alone, empty-handed. On July 15th, just a week after his 30th birthday, he handed in his letter of resignation. This was the great moment when he stood up alone for the salvation of all humanity at the expense of his personal life. It was the first step towards establishing Happy Science.

Establishment of Happy Science and turning the wheel of Dharma

The core sutra The Dharma of the Right Mind and three main books, The Laws of the Sun (doctrine on the Laws), The Golden Laws (doctrine on Time), and The Nine Dimensions (doctrine on Space), that form the framework of the teachings of Happy Science were completed within two months, between August 20th and the beginning of October. The Dharma of the Right Mind, The Laws of the Sun and The Golden Laws were written through automatic writing, whilst The Nine Dimensions was transcribed through dictation. On October 6th, 1986 Master Ryuho Okawa established Happy Science (Japanese name “Kofuku-no-Kagaku”). The following month, on November 23rd he turned the wheel of Dharma by giving his first public lecture. Happy Science started from a small study group, which Master Okawa described as “the graduate school of life”. Through lectures, seminars and books, members sought to raise their understanding of the teachings and worked hard to refine themselves. When the basic foundation, necessary to spread those teachings to others, was acquired in the early 1990’s, Happy Science evolved into a worldwide missionary movement.

A World Teacher of True Happiness